Just 16% of people on the autistic spectrum are in full-time work, demonstrating the vital need to offer more opportunities to get a start on the career ladder.

Daisy Chain works with businesses and organisations to organise supported work placements to give young people on the autism spectrum more skills and experience of the workplace to help them gain employment.

Macks solicitors, part of Watson Woodhouse law firm is one company which stepped in to help and offered a placement to 21-year-old Rory Anderson to help him build up employment experience in a real workplace.

And Rory’s work with them has spoken for itself, for Watson Woodhouse has now offered him a contract giving him paid employment.

Martin Pout, marketing director of Watson Woodhouse, began to do some fundraising for Daisy Chain and discovered the employability programme.

Martin said: “Watson Woodhouse, as a company, started working with Daisy Chain on a number of projects and we found out about the scheme. It offers the opportunity to source quality students and with the support of the charity, we can offer quality opportunities in return.

“Our solicitors and staff work with many different vulnerable clients and we pride ourselves on having an in-depth understanding of conditions such as autism.”

Rory is a whizz when it comes to updating databases and he was delighted to have been able to demonstrate his abilities which have now landed him paid employment.

The placement in Middlesbrough was organised and supported by Daisy Chain through the employability scheme with regular visits to the placement site to ensure everything is running smoothly.

Martin said: “We were delighted to take our relationship with Daisy Chain a step further and Rory is a fantastic worker. His work on the database allows us to analyse business needs and inform our business planning.

“It couldn’t be easier to work with Daisy Chain and the support is second to none. We were able to work out what role we could offer and the skills needed to fulfil it then we were matched with the ideal student. We started off with a visit to make sure everyone was comfortable with the match. It’s a two-way process.”

Staff at the company have also undertaken autism awareness training with Daisy Chain. “It’s all been extremely useful in dismissing any myths around autism. Rory is a brilliant worker that we may not have discovered without the charity’s help and there must be lots of talent out there for businesses to tap into. I would recommend the scheme to anyone.”

Rory added: “I just wanted to be able to get work experience and prove what I can do. I am loving doing the work and I am really excited to now be given a contract for paid work.”

Hayley Matthews, education and employability manager at Daisy Chain, said: “We need companies and organisations to come forward and offer work experience placements to our students who are on the autism spectrum. Such valuable opportunities allow our service users to demonstrate their skills as well as building their confidence and helping them getting a foot on the employment ladder.

“Companies can offer this knowing they will receive training and ongoing support from the Daisy Chain employability team as well as reassurance that placements are carefully matched with businesses to ensure an appropriate fit. Such opportunities can be life changing as in the case of Rory and his newly achieved employment. We are absolutely delighted for Rory and so proud of what he has achieved.”

For more information on Daisy Chain’s supported work placements, visit our website.


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